Tue 25, 2021

Caring for a Physically-Disabled Elderly | 7 Tips

As adults age, their physical and mental abilities inevitably start to decline. Even though numerous adults are still able to maintain high levels of physical activity and functioning, others are still reluctant to receive some help with even the simplest everyday tasks, such as physically disabled elderly.

Caring for the disabled can be a challenging task, especially if you are handling a loved one or a close friend. Not only are you watching over the person to avoid further complications or accidents, but you might even feel overburdened and angry sometimes, even though you are doing your best to help. Therefore, this takes tremendous energy and dedication on your part.

Therefore, in this article, we are going to give you 7 tips when caring for a physically disabled elderly.

1. Ask and Talk

Ask the adult about their needs. Unless the adults have significant memory loss or a cognitive disability, they have a right to make decisions about their care as well. 

It will be wise to include them in the decision-making process when coming up with a list of carers duties and figuring out who can offer care. 

You are advised to give them as many choices as possible, and also do your best to understand if they are reluctant to accept new assistance for their disability. Therefore, it is important to listen to the elderly’s fears and let them know that you understand fully.

2. Do Your Homework

Because different types of disabilities bring along different challenges, it is crucial to do research all ahead of time on the disability. This is more important when you don’t know much about the disability in the first place. By learning and researching more about the disability ahead of time, you will be able to deal with the situation more effectively. Moreover, you will be able to avoid more bumps on the road, if any, and deliver better care to the adults.

For example, if an adult is suffering from multiple sclerosis, you will end up knowing what might exactly trigger them, and you will also be able to avoid these triggers in the future as well.

Therefore, having adequate knowledge about the disability is highly crucial.

3. Speak Directly

Consider talking directly to the adult receiving care directly. This way, you will understand them better, as well as their needs, and they will feel more at ease with you. You can only build a connection with the adult if you speak to them directly, not through someone else.

Moreover, it is also important not to assume things on your own, without directly talking to the adult. Even if they can’t respond, you should still address them directly.

Remember, never to make the assumption that an adult needs assistance. Instead, offer your assistance and wait for their response. If they accept your offer to help, wait for instructions. However, be sure to respect their answer when you ask them how you can assist them.

4. Ask Questions

If you are confused or unsure of something, don’t be afraid to ask them. This way, you will understand them better and offer them better care as well.

Moreover, the adult will also become more comfortable with you when you ask them questions and become more open with them. This will also help build stronger two-way communication, as this is also a very important characteristic of good caregiving.

5. Understanding They Are Just Like Anyone Else

Remember- people with disabilities are just like any other person. They want to be treated with the same respect and love, and also have their humanity recognized. Do not make them feel vulnerable or as if they are dependable on you. 

You should try giving them as much autonomy as you can, and have them make decisions.  Moreover, do not make them feel any different from yourself or another person who is not suffering from a physical disability.

The last thing a physically disabled adult would want is to feel dependable on someone because of their disability. Thus, you should eradicate this feeling they might have. Instead, let them realize and understand that you will act upon their decisions, instead of you making decisions for them.

Thus, you should get to know the adult on a deeper level. It is important to know the person past their physical disability. This is because a person’s disability does not define them.

6. Be Patient

Last but not least, a tip one could follow when caring for an adult with disability, is to be patient. Patience is the key to providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere for the adult.

Adults, at some point, may behave irrationally and frustrated at times, mainly due to their physical disability. They might require cleanups after unintentional accidents, and otherwise lead to some more frustrating situations. Therefore, caregivers need to remain calm and patient in these types of scenarios.

Remember, everyone gets exasperated from time to time. However, a good carer can manage their emotions. Even when the adults become very demanding at times, the carer should not take these emotions personally, but understand that it is a normal response to the loss of abilities.

7. Talk to Your Immediate Family About Sharing Responsibilities

When caring for a loved one or family member, it will be wise to organize a meeting, if possible, with your inner family circle or close friends. This is important as caring for an adult can be a very demanding job, and you might need help or support at one point. 

This can include your siblings, your parent’s siblings, step-parent, or anyone else you consider immediate family. You should discuss how everyone can offer their time, money, energy, and other resources so the brunt of caring doesn’t fall on just one person.

If possible, you should consider getting a list of recommendations from your parent’s doctor so that everyone is on the same page about your disabled elderly’s needs.